Kindergarten teachers’ beliefs about Chinese early literacy instruction

Chunrong SUN, Hunping Rebecca CHEUNG, Mei Lee NG, Jinxin ZHU

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

Early literacy is now internationally recognized as an essential part of early childhood education curricula as numerous studies have documented its importance and long-term effects on children’s future literacy learning. Teachers play very important roles in children’s learning as a large number of studies have revealed that teachers’ beliefs may influence their pedagogical decision making and classroom practices. Many studies on early literacy field have also documented that teachers’ beliefs about early literacy are positively related to their pedagogical practices in early literacy instruction. Consequently, it is essential to gain a better understanding of teachers’ beliefs about early literacy.
This study aims to investigate kindergarten teachers’ beliefs about Chinese early literacy instruction using a self-constructed questionnaire. A quantitative survey design is employed to examine teachers’ beliefs about skills-based approach and whole language approach in Chinese early literacy instruction. The psychometric properties of the self-constructed instrument are evaluated. Moreover, the extent of teachers’ beliefs supporting skills-based approach and whole language approach in Chinese early literacy instruction is examined.
This study collects data from 888 kindergarten teachers in Kunming. Data analysis using a Rasch rating scale model has found that the two subscales have good psychometric properties, each of them showing uni-dimensionality; all items fit the Rasch measurement model with a good fit index; items in the two subscales show acceptable degrees of representativeness; and the reliability of the two subscales is acceptable.
The results of descriptive analysis demonstrate that most teachers support a whole language approach in domains of environment, instructional principles, assessment, and teacher’s role in early literacy instruction; however, majority of teachers do not agree with some of the items in the conception of literacy domain from the whole language approach. Nonetheless, many viewpoints from the skills-based approach are also strongly supported by teachers, such as the importance of maturation, systematic literacy teaching, and teachers’ roles in correcting mistakes and providing demonstrations in early literacy instruction. These results indicate that most of kindergarten teachers believe in whole language approach on how to teach in early literacy, while they cannot fully understand the conception of literacy in whole language philosophy, which provides some implications and recommendations for policy makers and early childhood. Copyright © 2019 20th Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association International Conference (PECERA).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

Citation

Sun, C., Cheung, H. R., Ng, M., & Zhu, J. (2019, July). Kindergarten teachers’ beliefs about Chinese early literacy instruction. Paper presented at The 20th Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association International Conference (PECERA): Childhood of Tomorrow, Howard Civil Service International House, Taipei, Taiwan.

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